Yesterday, I went to give a presentation at Griffith University for International Peace Day 2009. I talked about the foundation I coordinate in Queensland (Together for Humanity) and the important work we do with kids to ensure they do not grow up to be racist adults.
As part of the discussion, I gave very sad statistics about kids’ attitude towards different races and talked to the audience about the negative influence of the media and the kids’ parents at home.
At the end of the evening, a dark Indian woman thanked me for the talk and said it was alarming to see the figures on the screen.
“I have a story to tell you”, she said.
As you probably know by now, I love stories and after you read this, you will know why I wanted to pass this story on to you.
“I’m from Indian and I’m married to a Scottish man. Recently, our 3-years-old daughter’s birthday was coming. She said she wanted to invite friends from her day care center home, ‘But I don’t want to invite boys or blacks’, she said. I was very shocked. I’m as black as can be and always thought that because my husband has fair skin and comes from a different culture to mine, we are the perfect example of living in cultural harmony. I never thought my own daughter would say something like that”, she told me.
“What did you do?” I asked her.
“Well, I thought about it for a day and then told her, ‘You can choose who to invite to your party. Daddy is a boy and because you are not inviting any boys, Daddy won’t come to your party and I’m black and because you are not inviting blacks, I can’t come either, so you’re going to have to manage your own party. Have fun'”, she said.
“And…” I was so curious.
“Two days later, I asked her ‘Who did you invite for your birthday?’ and she said she’d invited a boy who is her best friend and a black girl who is a good friend”.
I thought that was brilliant! What would you do?